Celebrate youth aged 15 to 21 who are making a difference in our community.
SASSY Awards – "Service Above Self" by Surrey Youth
The SASSY Awards in Surrey honour youth aged 15 to 21 who are living or studying in Surrey or White Rock and are making a difference in our community. The awards are provided by the Semiahmoo Rotary Club and aim to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of youth who exemplify "Service Above Self."
Nominations were accepted in six categories for youth aged 15 to 21 living, studying or working in Surrey or White Rock. The 11th Annual Awards Show was held virtually on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.
2021 Award Recipients
Youth were identified in six categories. Each award recipient received a $1,000 award, $500 donation to a Registered Canadian Charity of their choice, and a SASSY trophy.
Arts & Culture Leadership
Desmond Tompkins is a 17-year-old artist who uses his work to bring attention to social issues and to create dialogue about diversity and social identity. He organized and curated a local art show. He was awarded the 2020 Artistic Achievement from the South Surrey White Rock Learning Centre and his work was showcased in the UK-based Museum of Transology online gallery.
Sukhraj Dhunna founded a global society called Leaders Inspiring Neighbouring Communities (LINC) in response to the lack of connection and support he was seeing on number of levels in his own community. He has organized more than 100 youth to contribute to the social and environmental well-being of Surrey through work with the Surrey Food Bank, Nightshift Street Ministries, the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-Up, Ocean Heroes, and others.
Isabella Sleeth has developed many projects as a result of her commitment to a sustainable environment. She is a member of the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s “Wild Outside” youth program where she worked on a habitat rehabilitation project and continues to participate in volunteer activities and educational seminars. Along with a friend, she started a small secondhand apparel/thrifting business dedicated to reducing the impacts of fast fashion and consumerism.
Maryam Haroon was an international ambassador for Korean and Japanese students in Grade 10 and is now communications director at Break the Divide Foundation, providing youth with a platform to connect around the world, creating ten new chapters across Canada, while connecting with youth in Bolivia, Russia and Taiwan who became united in their struggles to cope with a variety of issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Julia Hwang used the challenges she faced in an unstable family life as a motivator to do more. She had taken on adult responsibilities in grade three, and by around the age of 10 she was collecting recyclables to pay for her school field trips and contribute to household bills. During the pandemic she led a drive-through gift event for families in Surrey and White Rock. She credits the ongoing support of many of her teachers with her successes, including graduating with honours and more than 64 additional credits than required, and hoping to pursue post-secondary opportunities.
Sports & Recreation Leadership
Dev Saroya saw firsthand the value of sports in keeping local youth away from negative influences such as drugs and gangs. He volunteered at numerous basketball youth camps and sporting events to ensure that other youth have the same opportunities he has enjoyed. He stepped up during the pandemic to coach and referee games at his school that would otherwise have been cancelled, sharing his love of the game.